Everyday Use

Alice Walker (1944 - Present)

The author:

Ÿ  African American novelist, short stories writer, poet and essayist.

Ÿ  Birthplace: Eatonton, Georgia.

Ÿ  Daughter of poor sharecroppers, and the youngest of 8 children.

Ÿ  Alice was accidentally blinded one eye in her childhood, as a result, she lost her self-confidence and began to read and write poetry.

Ÿ  She was the valedictorian of her class in high school and received a scholarship to Spelman College, but she head to Sarah Lawrence College for a better learning experience.

Ÿ  Influenced by the writings of Zora Neale Hurston.

Ÿ  First African American woman to win Pulitzer Prize for Fiction 1983 of The Color Purple.

Ÿ  Literary works about: Relationships among the blacks themselves - Black woman's struggle for sexual and racial equality - Her life experiences.

The text:

Ÿ  Title: Heritage is for everyday use, not to be displayed.

Ÿ  Characters: Mama - Maggie - Dee - Hakim-a-barber - Grandma Dee.

Ÿ  Themes:  Heritage and identity - Materialism - Community vs. Isolation.

Ÿ  Literary devices: Symbolism - Irony.

Ÿ  Narrative technique: Mama is a dynamic first-person narrator.

Ÿ  Plot structure:

1.      Exposition: Mama and Maggie are waiting for Dee’s arrival in the house yard. Mama talks about herself, her two daughters and the day when her old house was burned.

2.      Rising Action: Dee arrives to the house with her Muslim boyfriend. Mama and Maggie are shocked because Dee changed her name, clothes style and manners. Dee is looking for old things which were made by her ancestors.

3.      Climax: Mama realized how selfish, self-centered and materialistic is Dee, when she asked her mother to give her the quilts so she can decorate her house with.

4.      Falling Action: Mama grabs the quilts from Dee and gives them back to Maggie. Dee tells Mama that what she did is wrong, and they do not understand their heritage.

5.      Resolution: Dee leaves. Mama and Maggie were enjoying their time. Then they went to sleep.

Done by:

Fedha J Sultan

Maha T Al-Thulaith